Maybe letters to your legislator do matter! Or maybe it was a coincidence.
April 20, 2011 SB 724 An Act to Improve Public Education
Edition 1 reads in part:
“To further ensure that teacher preparation programs are upgraded to reflect a more rigorous course of study, the State Board of Education, in consultation with the Board of
Governors of The University of North Carolina, shall
(i) increase the credit requirements and number of years required to complete a teacher
(ii) require students preparing to teach in elementary schools to complete courses in the teaching of reading and mathematics that are aligned with the State Board’s philosophy and approach for teaching these subjects, and
(iii)equire all students to receive training in technology available in North Carolina schools that measures and predicts expected student improvement, such as EVAAS, Graduation Resiliency Software, 3‑D reading, and the Student Diagnostic Pilot Program.”
Note that in Edition 1, there is no requirement that the courses be scientifically validated nor that the graduate’s knowledge of scientifically validated methods be tested prior to certification.
May 3, 2011 BAM emails letter (attached) to all sponsors of SB724 which read in part:
Dear Senator: …
The SBE has failed totally to specify rigorous exams for elementary teachers as the
above sentence requires, in spite of the nearly $8 million annual funding in
13510-1000 to do so. The prescribed Praxis 11 and 12 exams have almost no questions that deal with learning theory, pedagogy, scientifically-based reading instruction, or classroom positive behavior management. These short rudimentary tests are primarily intended for subject matter content.
North Carolina’s preparation and testing of elementary education students as reflected
by the course requirements and certification tests was evaluated by The National Council on Teacher Quality in 2009. In their 152-page report on North Carolina, they give the state’s preparation and assessment of elementary teachers a grade of “D” for reading
instruction. This shoddy preparation can easily be deduced from the fact that over half of our minority and low-income students do not pass the third grade reading test nor go on to graduate high school. Our state’s overall abysmal showing on the NAEP reading tests also attests to this lack of preparation.
North Carolina should require every elementary education major to pass a comprehensive test on learning theory and instructional methods that have been scientifically validated. We should follow the example of states like Massachusetts which requires such a test of its teachers. As a result, Massachusetts ranked first in the country in 4th grade NAEP reading.
One such readily available test is Pearson’s NT104 “Essential Components of Elementary Reading Instruction.” … Sincerely, Baker A. Mitchell, Jr.
Supporting data was posted May 3, 2011 on my blog http://bakeramitchell.com/2011/05/04/sb-724-suggestions-to-improve-an-act-to-improve/
On May 5, 2011 SB 724 An Act to Improve Public Education
Edition 2 was modified to read:
” To further ensure that teacher preparation programs remain current and reflect a rigorous course of study that is aligned to State and national standards, the State Board of
Education, in consultation with the Board of Governors of The University of
North Carolina, shall
(i) ensure students preparing to teach in elementary schools have adequate coursework in the teaching of reading and mathematics and are assessed prior to certification to
determine that they possess the requisite knowledge in scientifically based
reading and mathematics instruction that is aligned with the State
Board’s expectations and
(ii) ensure that all students continue to receive preparation in applying formative and summative assessments within the school and classroom setting through technology-based assessment systems available in North Carolina schools that measure and predict
expected student improvement.”
Note that Edition 2 now has a requirement to assess teacher candidates for their knowledge of scientifically based reading and math instruction.
Summary: SB-724 could still use some improvement to improve.. but but a big “thank you” to whomever added the assesment requirement prior to certification. The SBE is totally shirking its duty for rigorous testing of candidates as requried by GS 115C-296, and they will probably ignore this law if it is enacted.
The ultimate answer lies in HB 823 EDITION 1 to allow an amendment to our Constitution and place DPI under the elected State Superintendent of Instruction instead of the governor’s eleven 8-year appointees that make up the present State Board of Education (SBE). Later Editions of this bill just confuse the situation even more than the present case. Go back to HB 823 Ed. 1.